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Subject and Predicate of a Sentence


 

Subject and Predicate

 

Every sentence has a complete subject and complete predicate. This lesson explains about the subject and predicate of a sentence.

 

A complete sentence contains two parts;
 
a) a subject

and

b) a predicate

 

What is the subject of a sentence?

 
The subject of a complete sentence is who or what the sentence is about.
 
The subject of a sentence includes the noun or pronoun along with all the words that modify, or describe it.

 

What is the predicate of a sentence?

 
The predicate of a complete sentence tells about the subject.
 
The predicate of a sentence usually contains the verb of the sentence along with all the other words that tell more about the subject, and some of these words can also modify the verb.

 

Example 1:

 

James cleans the dishes.

Subject and Predicate Example Sentence 1

 

Explanation of the subject:
 
James is the subject of this sentence, because the sentence is telling something about James.

 

Explanation of the predicate:
 
What does the above sentence tell about James? It says that James cleans the dishes.
 
Also, remember the predicate always includes the verb.
 
Predicate: cleans (verb) the dishes
 
Therefore, in example 1 the subject is James and the predicate is cleans the dishes.

 

Example 2:

 

The frog jumped over the dog.

 

Subject and Predicate Example Sentence 2

 

Explanation of the subject:
 
There are two animals in this sentence; Frog and dog. So how do we understand who the subject is? In such cases you can ask the question below;
 
Who jumped? The answer is the frog.
 
So the subject is the frog.

 

Explanation of the predicate:
 
What does the above sentence tell about the frog? It says that the frog jumped over the dog.
 
Predicate: jumped (verb) over the dog.
 
Therefore, in example 2 the subject is the frog and the predicate is jumped over the dog.

 

Now, let’s try a complex sentence.

 

Example 3:

 

Last Friday evening Mrs. McQueen’s children were playing in the park.

 

Subject and Predicate Example Sentence 3

 

Explanation of the subject:
 
This sentence talks about several different things such as last Friday evening, Mrs. McQueen’s children, the park.
 
Now, what’s the subject of this sentence?
 
First find the verb of the sentence: were playing
 
Next ask, who were playing?
 
Yes. Mrs. McQueen’s children were playing.
 
So Mrs. McQueen’s children is the subject of this sentence.

 

Explanation of the predicate:
 
You know the predicate always carries the verb. Therefore, were playing in the park is the predicate of this sentence.

 

Example 4:

 

What is a subject in a command?

 

“Go open that window.”

 

Subject and Predicate Example Sentence 4

 
The above sentence is a command. What is the subject of this sentence?
 
The only noun appears in this sentence is ‘window’ and we can see the verb is ‘go open’. But, obviously we know the window is not about to ‘go open’.
 
In such sentences the speaker is giving a command to someone to ‘go open that window’. It’s like ‘You go open that window’. Therefore, in a command like this, we can assume that the subject is ‘you’.

 

Sentences beginning with ‘There’

 

Look at the following sentence.
 

There is a beautifully wrapped gift at the door step.

 

Subject and Predicate Example Sentence 5

 
What is the subject of this sentence? It’s definitely not ‘There’.
 
Then find the verb of the sentence. It’s ‘is wrapped’.
 
Now ask the question; What is wrapped? The answer is ‘a gift’, which is the subject of the sentence.

 

Simple Subject and Simple Predicate

 

What is a simple subject?

 
We know that the subject of a sentence includes the noun or pronoun along with all the words that modify, or describe it.
 
But the simple subject of a sentence is the noun or pronoun all by itself.
 
Look at the example given below;
 

The dark blue mug with the white border at the bottom was my grandma’s favourite mug.

 

Subject and Predicate Example Sentence 6

 
Subject of the sentence: The dark blue mug
 
Simple subject: mug
 
Modifiers of the subject: The dark blue
 
So the simple subject of the above sentence is ‘mug’. All the other words (the, dark, blue) in the subject modify or describe the simple subject, ‘mug’.

 

What is a simple predicate?

 
We know that the predicate of a sentence usually contains the verb of the sentence and all the other words in the predicate tell more about the subject, and some of the words can modify the verb too.
 
But the simple predicate of a sentence is the verb of the sentence.
 
Let’s go back to the above example sentence;
 

The dark blue mug with the white border at the bottom was my grandma’s favourite mug.

 
Predicate of the sentence: with the white border at the bottom was my grandma’s favourite mug
 
Simple predicate: was
 
Modifiers of the subject and verb: with the white border at the bottom / my grandma’s favourite mug

 

Compound Subject and Compound Predicate

 

What is a compound subject?

 
When there are two or more nouns that act as the subject in a sentence, such a sentence contains a compound subject.

 

Example of a compound subject:
 

Stephanie and her friends went to the library last Tuesday.

 

Who went to the library? Stephanie and her friends
 
Therefore, Stephanie and her friends comprise the subject of the above sentence.

 

What is a compound predicate?

 
When there are two or more verbs that relate to the subject in a sentence, such a sentence contains a compound predicate.
 
Example of a compound predicate:
 

Jack fell down and broke his crown.

 
What is the verb of this sentence? There are two verbs in this sentence; fell down and broke. The only subject for both verbs is Jack.
 
So the predicate of this sentence is fell down and broke his crown.

 

Now, click here to test your knowledge in subject and predicate of a sentence. Enjoy gaining more knowledge in subject and predicate!